Louisiana and fracking

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In Louisiana, fracking is being used to access natural gas in the Haynesville Shale area in northwestern Louisiana, and to a lesser extent for oil in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale that stretches across the middle part of the state.[1]

Introduction

Shale plays in Louisiana

In Louisiana, fracking is being used for the natural gas producing Haynesville Shale area in northwestern Louisiana and the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale that stretches across the middle part of the state and contains what is called Louisiana Light Sweet crude oil.[2] The Brown Dense shale area underlying Arkansas and northern Louisiana (ranging in vertical depths from 8,000 to 11,000 feet) is projected to be able to produce both oil and gas, the industry say it is too early to tell how much of the hard-to-reach oil is recoverable.[3]

Fracking in the 11,000-feet-deep Haynesville Shale in Louisiana started in northwest Louisiana in 2008.[4] Since then over 2,200 wells have been drilled and are producing natural gas in the Haynesville Shale formation, with another 232 wells there awaiting completion, in the process of being drilled, or permitted (as of May 2013).[5]

Another 16 producing wells have been drilled in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale formation, which cuts across the center of the state. The formation underlies St. Tammany, Washington, and Tangipahoa parishes, as well as the parishes surrounding Baton Rouge.[5]

History

The Jurassic Haynesville Shale of northwest Louisiana has been a site for gas production since 1905, but has become a site for fracking since Cubic Energy drilled a well there in November 2007, followed by a March 2008 announcement by Chesapeake Energy that it had "completed" a Haynesville Shale gas well.[6]

Environmental and health effects

A confidential industry study from 1990, conducted for the American Petroleum Institute, concluded that “using conservative assumptions,” radium in drilling wastewater dumped off the Louisiana coast posed “potentially significant risks” of cancer for people who eat fish from those waters regularly.[7]

Spills and accidents

Map of high-profile fracking incidents in Louisiana, Earthjustice.

Pipelines

The Bluegrass Pipeline—put forward as a joint venture by Williams Companies Inc. and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP—would carry an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 barrels a day of natural gas liquids (NGL) from western Pennsylvania to Texas, and would convert a portion of Texas Gas in Eunice, LA (the TGT Loop Line) to NGL service. NGLSs ("wet" natural gas) include ethane, butane, propane, methane, and various solid chemicals, which would likely be shipped to overseas markets. Unless maintained under high pressure, the substances are highly flammable and explosive, necessitating construction of additional facilities throughout the South—including a facility in Louisiana. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2015.[8]

Citizen activism

Legislative issues and regulations

List of regulations in the state.

On October 20, 2011, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources adopted new rules for the oil and gas industry (fracking regulation are on page 3064). The new rules require an operator to obtain a work permit before engaging in hydraulic fracturing, and to publicly disclose the content of the fluids they use in the fracking process, although it allows exemptions for chemicals deemed "trade secrets."[9]

Citizen groups

Industry groups

Reports

Resources

References

  1. Jordan Blum, "Congressional hearings look at fracking," The Advocate, May 24, 2013.
  2. Jordan Blum, "Congressional hearings look at fracking," The Advocate, May 24, 2013.
  3. Richard Thompson, "New shale play in north Louisiana may hold oil, gas," The Times-Picayune, September 11, 2011.
  4. Map of high-profile fracking incidents in Louisiana, Earthjustice, accessed July 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mark Schleifstein, "Shale fracking proves $30 billion-a-year boon to waste disposal industry," The Times-Picayune, May 20, 2013.
  6. Louise S. Durham, "Louisiana play a 'company maker'," AAPG Explorer, July 2008, p.18-36.
  7. Ian Urbina, "Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers," NY Times, February 26, 2011.
  8. Andrew Morris, "Fracked Gas Pipelines Planned for Ohio and Kentucky," EcoWatch, June 3, 2013.
  9. "Department of Natural Resources adopts new rules requiring companies that engage in fracking to disclose the chemicals used, and to obtain a work permit," jonesswanson.com, December 2, 2011.

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